Agriculture + Lifestyle
Young Farmer Jesse Patrick, Bridges the Gap Between Past and Present
Posted on September 2, 2018 8:00 PM
A sixth-generation farmer, Jesse Patrick grew up on a 700-cow dairy farm in Eatonton. To say farming is in his blood would be an understatement. “It’s about the only life that I know. I tried my hand in the meat packing business as well as grain marketing, but it’s hard to deny something that is ingrained into your soul,” he said.
“Farming is what truly makes me happy. Even on bad days, I enjoy getting the opportunity to be a part of this great industry. It gives you a sense of pride to see something grow and mature from start to finish and know that you had a hand in making this happen.”
Patrick’s grandfather was a row crop, hay and beef cattle farmer in Ehrhardt, South Carolina, and he and his father currently farm 300 acres of soybeans and wheat, as well as 100 acres of hay and 150 head of beef cattle. They also own Southeast Ag Services, Inc., a dairy equipment sales, service and installation business.
“In today’s agriculture, being a young farmer means being few and far between. With the average age of farmers increasing every year, we are a minority group that will be tasked with feeding the world in the coming years,” said 30-year-old Patrick. “It is almost impossible for younger people to buy a farm and immediately start producing products for consumers, with land prices and input cost being what they are. You must be persistent and strategic in everything you do because there is little margin for error.”
In a time when consumers have a heightened desire to know how and where their food is produced, Patrick couldn’t agree more.
“I make every effort to produce the safest, healthiest food source that I can possibly produce and most every farmer in this state would say the same thing – no matter what sector of agriculture you are talking about,” Patrick said. “It is important for us, as farmers, to listen to people’s concerns and educate them about what we do because they want to know.”
Today, more than ever, farmers are producing agricultural products on less land for more and more people every day, which is why educating consumers is so important.
“I have numerous friends who did not grow up around a farm – or even in a rural community – and are always asking me questions about things they saw or heard. I feel a strong sentiment to help people understand the true facts about farming and the various agricultural brands or products,” Patrick said.
Patrick is a member of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Program, which provides educational and social opportunities for young farmers, preparing them to assume additional roles of leadership and responsibility within county, state or national Farm Bureau organizations.
As part of this group, Patrick helps connect the older generation of farmers with younger farmers, who are more in tune with current trends and technology, such as social media.Young farmers are able to provide a fresh outlook on markets and consumers that may not have been explored yet. And with social media playing a more significant role in people’s lives, it also has an impact on farming operations.
“I believe the younger generation of farmers will be an inspiring force on social media and open up new opportunities for our occupation in the future,” he said.
Connecting to that older generation, Patrick said most of what he knows about farming he learned from his father and grandfather.
“My father taught me how to work hard for a living, as well as how to diversify yourself. He tries to teach me patience when it comes to tasks on the farm, but I still haven’t quite grasped that concept yet,” Patrick said with a laugh. “My grandfather taught me how to be passionate about agriculture and how to enjoy whatever situation you are in. He also taught me how to be a good Christian man – and that peaches and whipped cream can make for the best dessert.”